CHATHAM, NJ - The Chatham Education Foundation, the leading provider of private funding to the School District of the Chathams, has announced that it has distributed $66,000 in grants to fund 26 innovative and creative educational programs and special projects throughout the School District of the Chathams during the 2011-2012 academic school year.

“The Chatham Education Foundation is pleased to have awarded these grants, which finance innovative and creative programs that would otherwise have been left unfunded and unrealized,” said Colleen Markley, president of the Chatham Education Foundation. “Due to the direct support from hundreds of area residents and local businesses we are able to continue to support Chatham’s great teachers and principals.”

Dr. Michael LaSusa, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction of the school district, said “The Chatham Education Foundation continues to support and sustain innovative programs in our school district through the generosity of its donors and Board of Trustees. It is one of the organizations that epitomizes the commitment to academic achievement and student development that we enjoy in Chatham. On behalf of our school district, I would like to express my sincerest gratitude for CEF for all the ways in which it has benefitted the children of this community."

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Enhancing Communication Skills Through the Use of Technology

(Submitted by Jaclyn Behrens)

Students in Speech classes at both CMS and MAS are benefitting from the acquisition of an iPad and speech-related applications thanks to a thoughtful grant from the Chatham Education Foundation.  Dynamic, cost-effective applications will help children to improve critical speech and language skills through interactive, individualized lessons that are fun to do.


Give Me Five with My Plate

(Submitted by Mary Donnelly)

The Chatham Education Foundation is delighted to award a grant to MAS/WAS for the innovative program, Give Me Five with My Plate, to foster healthier lifestyles for K-3 students and their families.  The grant will be used to purchase materials for health classes to encourage students to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables and exercise more each day. In conjunction with classroom initiatives, there is a parent seminar about helping children eat healthy foods. This seminar was funded by the Washington Avenue and Milton Avenue PTO’s.


Lighting the Way

(Submitted by Darren Groh & Cheryl Caggiano)

The Chatham Education Foundation is proud to award a significant joint “Principals Grant.”  This transformational gift will allow the schools to purchase and install a new lighting system for the shared CHS and LAF auditorium.  Students will benefit from learning state-of-the-art stage lighting techniques and the community will enjoy visual improvements to student productions and special events.  This is truly a community-inspired grant that will benefit students and their families for many years to come!


Final Edit Toolkits

(Submitted by Helen Comba)

The Chatham Education Foundation is pleased to award this grant to support writing/editing skills across all Chatham elementary schools.  With this award, all second through fourth grade English Language Arts teachers will receive editing toolkits for their classrooms. By using these instruments, students will be encouraged to consistently use editing and revising strategies as they move through the grade levels thereby strengthening their writing ability. 


CHS Theatre Costume Design and Construction Apprenticeship

(Submitted by Lynn Polan)

Thanks to a generous grant from the Chatham Education Foundation, Chatham High School Drama students had the unique opportunity to work with a professional costume designer. Students learned about the design, construction, collecting and fitting of costumes and applied these skills to the fall production of Metamorphosis.  This hands-on learning experience will enable CHS drama students to continue to apply what they have learned to future CHS productions and perhaps even inspire a future Tony Award for Best Costume Design one day!


‘Nspired Algebra:  Teaching Algebra 1 with the T1-Nspire CX Handhelds

(Submitted by Jim McKowen, Amanda Tsukamoto and Amanda Novick)

Eighth-grade CMS students are gaining a better grasp of complex algebraic concepts thanks to the purchase of innovative, mobile technology made possible by a grant from the Chatham Education Foundation.  Texas Instruments’ T1-Nspire CX Handhelds allow students to visualize mathematics concepts in color, enabling them to “make faster, stronger connections between equations, graphs, and geometric representations on screen,” as well as to “discover real-world connections” to the subject.  3D graphing and the ability to transfer assignments from the hand-held to the computer make these devices an indispensible part of 21st century learning and a real asset to the CMS Mathematics Program.

Little Dresses for Africa

(Submitted by Robert Accardi and Pamela McHugh)

The Chatham Education Foundation is thrilled to support a CMS service-learning project, Little Dresses for Africa.  This volunteer initiative is open to all Sixth through Eighth Grade students at CMS, who will learn to prepare, sew, and decorate pillowcase dresses, which will then be sent to needy communities in Africa.

Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Seventh Grader

(Submitted by Gina Bakaj, Jacqueline Chirico & Nicole Georgio)

The Seventh Grade English Language Arts Team recently received a generous donation from the Chatham Education Foundation to help inspire a love of reading in junior high students.  This grant will make high-interest books readily available to students by creating mini-libraries directly in the Seventh Grade English classrooms.  Multiple copies of popular books will encourage all students to find something they will enjoy and foster a life-long interest in reading.

Mobile SmartBoard Access

(Submitted by Patricia Clark)

The Chatham Education Foundation is delighted to help make math instruction more effective by fulfilling this grant request.  With this award, each EXCEL, special education and math teacher will receive a Logitech Wireless Presenter.  These devices will allow teachers to move about the classroom and interact more fully with their students while utilizing their SmartBoards remotely.

The Kinesthetic Classroom

(Submitted by Lisa Calamari, Elissa Cohen-Michel & Carly Nacer)

The Chatham Education Foundation is excited to keep the Sixth Grade moving with this innovative grant!  Based on studies which show that children oftentimes learn through muscle memory, this grant will provide for equipment that will keep children active while they study English Language Arts concepts.  As the teachers described, “creative movement will assist our students to explore the feelings and themes in stories, develop theories about cause-and-effect, as well as recall sequence of events and details of literature.”   


Got a Minute for Fluency?  Fluency Phones and Timers

(Submitted by Kristine Kelly and Jacqueline Cox-Bradley)

Following upon the Fifth Grade’s success last year with donated fluency phones and timers, the Chatham Education Foundation was pleased to again provide funding for the same equipment, but this time for the Fourth Grade. The phones are used as an aid to improve phrasing, intonation and expression while reading.  The timers enable the children to individually monitor reading rates and track progress during fluency practice.  The Foundation is pleased that both grades at LAF will have access to these invaluable language-arts resources!

Stupendous Student Seating & Fantastic Focus Features for the Classroom

(Submitted by Christine Grobert, Shay Coleman, and LeMoyne Robinson)

Innovative classroom design is a sure bet for the Chatham Education Foundation, which is therefore delighted to support this Fourth Grade project.  Through this grant, fitness ball chairs, bases, seating discs, privacy screens, slant boards, a NetBook Mouse, and Fidget Toolbox will all be purchased to create a learning environment where all students can be motivated, focused and successful.

Electricity is a “Snap”

(Submitted by Marilyn Kelly)

Making students “bright” will be a “snap” with this grant!  With this exciting award from the Chatham Education Foundation, Ms. Kelly will be able to purchase eight Snap Circuit Kits.  These kits will be utilized in all the Fourth Grade Science classrooms giving students a hand-on understanding of the electrical circuit system and its components. 

Teaching with Ease(ls)

(Submitted by Cheryl Caggiano & Helen Comba)

Differentiation is key to helping every child succeed, which is why the Chatham Education Foundation is delighted to approve this grant request.  With this gift, every fourth and fifth grade English Language Arts teacher will receive a tabletop easel, which can be used for small group instruction.  These easels provide a workspace that is both magnetic and dry erasable, and can be customized to the needs of each group of students with whom they are working.


Friends Focusing on Fluency

(Submitted by Laura Noonan, Marybeth Kopacz, Carole “Peach” Bolton, Elizabeth Rosenstein & Maryann D’alessandro)

Continuing its commitment to enhancing fluency throughout the district, the Chatham Education Foundation was pleased to award a mini-grant to Second and Third Grade teachers to purchase four dozen fluency phones and 42 timers. These materials will enable students to time themselves as they practice reading silently and orally, with the ultimate goal to help them become stronger and more competent readers.

New Jersey and SBS… Perfect Together

(Submitted by Laura Noonan, Peach Bolton & Jen Perdek)

The Third Grade curriculum goal to learn about our home state will be boosted with this exciting Chatham Education Foundation grant award, which will allow SBS to have a large map of New Jersey painted on the playground. This map project will highlight New Jersey’s counties and key landmarks and encourage even the youngest learners at SBS to develop a better appreciation for our state.  

Miracle Melodies

(Submitted by Ralph Pesapane & Tracey Roskam)

The Chatham Education Foundation is delighted to fund this grant request for a digital piano.  The piano will be utilized for music instruction as well as to enhance student performances and special events.  This new instrument is definitely a gift that will continue to enrich the school community for years to come!

Eye on Technology

(Submitted by Ralph Pesapane & Katie Mulford)

Continuing to fulfill the school’s needs for document cameras, the Chatham Education Foundation is pleased to award three more for the school. This grant will enable three additional teachers to have this equipment at their fingertips.  SBS now has 16 digital cameras through the generosity of CEF.

Speaking the Same Numbers Language

(Submitted by Ralph Pesapane & Laura Noonan)

The Chatham Education Foundation is excited to help forward the math curriculum with this grant award!  It will provide for a set of math vocabulary materials that will help to strengthen the mathematics program at the school. 



Research Enrichment Program

(Submitted by Mary Szoke)

This Chatham Education Foundation mini-grant will enable the Library to purchase a Canon Power Shot Digital Camera, SDHC card and mini-tripod.  Students working on research projects will be able to use the camera to create multi-media presentations and the school will in turn be able to use it to document the students’ success!

Creating a Classroom to Promote Life-Long Reading

(Submitted by Nancy Volker)

The Chatham Education Foundation is pleased to support efforts to create a classroom environment that is more conducive to reading.  Ms. Volker’s goal is to provide comfortable places for children to read individually and reduce the number of distractions.  In addition, it also calls for a Learning Center where children can hear a story and then discuss it with their peers to enhance communication and comprehension skills.

Netbooks for All (Third Graders!)

(Submitted by Donna Monica, Beth Paulson, Sloane Harris, Denise Gangaware, Jaclyn Noll & Michelle Monhan)

The Chatham Education Foundation is delighted to continue its tradition of providing technology for students throughout the district.  With this generous grant award, the Third Grade Team will again receive a storage cabinet and eight netbooks.  By increasing the number of netbooks available, Third Grade teachers will have access to enough netbooks for each child in two classrooms to work independently on them at a time.

Interactive Software

(Submitted by Jennifer Friedrich)

This thoughtful grant from the Chatham Education Foundation will enhance technology education at WAS.  With this funding, Ms. Friedrich will be able to implement Lakeshore Interactive Software in all the PreK through First Grade classrooms.  This new software will work with the existing SmartBoards and help teachers to create fun and stimulating Language Arts, Math and Science activities.

Enhancing Empathy, Learning Skills and Problem-Solving Skills through Character Education

(Submitted by Mary Quigley & Jennifer Manger)

WAS has been committed to developing Character Education lessons and programs every year, and the Chatham Education Foundation is honored to be able to help.  The CEF’s generous grant, will provide for SECOND STEP program kits for all K-3 classrooms.  These highly successful kits will set the stage for future academic success by helping children identify feelings, manage strong emotions, solve problems and get along better with others.

Netbooks in the Washington Avenue School Library

(Submitted by Mary Quigley & Mary Szoke)

The Chatham Education Foundation has approved a generous grant for the WAS Library.  Continuing its tradition to fund technology, this CEF award will provide for eight netbooks which will, “bring (the) media center into the 21st century and allow students to search the school and district catalogs, write reviews and recommendations for books they have read, and to research information using both non-fiction books and online resources.”  Tripling the number of netbooks in the Library, making it much more effective and efficient for all students and teachers, is something which the community can certainly be proud of!

Individuals interested in learning more about the Chatham Education Foundation, or financially supporting its efforts, are encouraged to visit